Paschal Meditation (II)

It felt cold this morning. Oh, the hot sun came up as usual, but I shivered nonetheless.
Yesterday’s unnatural darkness seems to have left a pall over my soul. Or maybe—
        maybe it’s the fact he died. He hung there, and died.

I thought he wouldn’t. I expected another miracle. Call me a fool, but after all this time—
        after a hundred times of watching him do the impossible—
        I really thought somehow he’d do what he was here to do.
        What is Rome compared to the Messiah, to God’s anointed one?

But now I don’t even know what to think. Sure, he claimed to be the one we’d all expected.
Or did he? I mean, that’s certainly what I understood, with all the times he dropped hints—
        no, more than hints!—
        all the times he admitted it when we asked,
        all the times he nodded, smiling,
        all the times he let us believe he was going to deliver us.

But he just took the beatings the soldiers threw at him. And then he just hung there.
Let the Roman soldiers hurl insults and mockery and derision.
I could hardly bear to stand there, watching him die.
Not just a trick, not some hopeful sham that would let us know he was still with us. He died.
Blood pouring out of his side,
        and water, in a foul mix I thought would make me wretch.
Instead, I just
        watched, cold, broken, all my faith shattered.

Who was he? An impostor? Demon-possessed, like the priests said, months ago?
He was my friend. But—
        he was not the Son of God.
And how can he have truly been
         my friend? How could he have led us all astray?

Was it power-hunger? The lust for fame and attention?
Was his teaching—the mighty sermons on the hillsides, the indictments of the religious fools—
        was it all just a sham in his quest for others to worship him?
But then, where did the miracles come from?

None of this even matters anymore. It’s pointless nattering in the dark.
I threw my life away for him, and he died. He gave it all away, and for what?
None of it makes sense.

My soul is cold, and empty. Tomorrow, I suppose I will try to make my way back
        to Galilee. Maybe some of the others will come with me.
What a horrible Sabbath. What a horrid end to Passover. What a

Paschal Meditation (I)

Sun-bleached sky looks down on swollen crowd
        gathered round a spectacle of lashéd, tortured flesh
    Grit and blood amidst the swirling straps
        tearing sinews, hewing, rending, stripping skin from bone

Men and women hide in terror, shamed,
        wishing for the future they'd imagined—glorious
    Nothing like the horror of this day
        lost to vicious, hostile, angry, men with wicked hearts

Dusty road and twisted beam weigh down
        broken flesh of righteous, gentle man condemned by sin
    Sin his broken flesh did never taste
        sin his broken flesh now bears so sin may fully die

Searing sun undimmed by cloud or shade 
        scorches Judah's crowned, triumphant savior as he hangs
    Crowned with thorns, humanity his robe
        Sacrificial justice nails salvation to a tree

And then ended all at once with lung-torn cry
        heralded by storm of shaking earth and opened tombs
    Darkness swelling o'er the land and blotting out the light
        finished, done, concluded, temple curtain rent and torn

Something, someone died this day, and changed the world—
        for good, somehow, perhaps, our hearts would wish to say,
    But hours-long unnat'ral gloom and lifeless corpse
        our long untrammeled hopes do now restrain. 

The God of Thunder

                Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings,
                        ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
                Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
                        worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.

Crack and rumble, flash and flicker, pat and pitter
Storm and fury, might and power, rain and midnight

                The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
                        the God of glory thunders,
                        the Lord, over many waters.
                The voice of the Lord is powerful;
                        the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.

And with every flare of heavenward flame,
        the earth worships its God-king,
lightning in his fists and mercy on his brow,
        his grace a thund'ring triumph over death.

                The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
                        the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
                He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf,
                        and Sirion like a young wild ox.

Whose hand shelters, and whose hand slays?
        His alone: Yahweh, God of vengeance, God of peace
Who holds death, and who has death held?
        He alone: Yawheh, God who judges, God who himself judged

                The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire.
                The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness;
                        the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.

We sin, we stumble, we slip in the downpour,
        Broken by every bitter folly, drenched in shame
We fall and falter, quiver like a house in the storm
        Hopeless in the dark of moonless, starless night

Yet in these earthen vessels—
        filled with all the falling sins and sorrows
We have in fragile pots a treasure—
        not gold or silver, frankincense or myrrh—
        but somehow royalty: the King himself now dwells within

                The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth
                        and strips the forests bare,
                        and in his temple all cry, “Glory!”

This God of glory, God of thunder,
        is also God of mercy, God of gentle sun
Not Poseidon, Zeus, or Thor, in human likeness he
        but mighty in salvation as in judgment
        and kind, forbearing, divine as they were not, could never be.

                The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
                        the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.
                May the Lord give strength to his people!
                May the Lord bless his people with peace!

New approaches

A light fleeting thought:
Mobile devices are not
Poetic pieces

White blossoms

White blossoms palely line the road
Like wedding remnants left behind
By swift departing groom and bride

'Twas winter's final, unchaste blow
'Gainst bridal, Lenten verdancy
And greening waltz unearthenly

Her steps beneath a sky aglow
With robindance—flit quick and red—
And robinsong for march to wed

Slend'rest moonshard

Slend'rest moonshard scythes the night
A curvéd blade against the dark
Deepness sliced by sharp-edged light


Aching hours filled by penetrating glances through falling snow,
concentrating against the threat of sliding catastrophe;
And then again, through dripping rain that clouds the eyes
concentrating against the threat of sleepy ruin;
But 'tween the two, the joy of earthward streaming light
in the warm glow of hours gladly spent with friends

the steady tap-tapping of the keys
not the loud clack-clacking of the old
but the soft tap-tapping of the new

images take shape from words and special characters
layout, and flow, and content

an artist sits alone, typing illustration into being
quiet music echoing between his ears to match
the steady tap-tapping of the keys

rhythmic pounding thrums the building walls
like great cello strings plucked over and over again
the loud crack of jackhammer smashing concrete into bits

pieces of thought drift around the edges
of a mind filled with noisome banging
in spite of tight-sealed plugs
the hammer shatters other concentrations of concentration

the craftsman ponders his own hands, now callused
by the heavy handled hammer held down against the rock
as rhythmic pounding thrums the building walls

Artistry is shaped by medium
        but is not medium mere

Sea of Restlessness

Melancholy settles in around the shoulders
Like a blanket for the eyes, the light of the soul swathed in gray
Shadows and apparitious drapery between candle and holder
Puff and blow and handwave as you will; the fog (of war with fog) remains

That world is fixed, unmoving, ceaseless and secure
But here all is drifting, cast loose upon the sea of restlessness
The anchor line is taut and still the iron weight drifts and drags
No purchase on solidity, only the cost of another current dragging at the hull

Creaking permeates the inner eaves of the mind
Like timbers in the wind as the keel rocks in low grumbling waves
Weak strength against the mighty depths of a soul
Strain away and struggle all you like; the water will not bend to any will save one

Those stars are hard white crystals, far away and bright
But invisible here below, blocked by shrouds of sorrow, fear, and wonder
The sextant sits useless and the mind lists to starboard
No aim or heading, only a steady, needless drift away from heaven's needles

to Hope

and solitude
are not the end of all
but mere reminders to look up
to hope

21 - 22


Though darkness came this year, and pain
it has not cast us down nor any battle won,
and clouds there are that gather still
but cannot kill the sky nor hide the rising sun

Through trial, tempest, shadows, rain,
we jogged like dogged marathoners 'gainst our fears
though road was turned to mud and mire
our feet we pounded, raised again against the year

Though murk and gloom around have lain
it has not conquered you (nor us) nor overcome
and mighty though its bluster be
this sorrow is but fog, by daylight soon undone

Through canyons, valleys, broken plains,
we hiked like mountaineers against the rocks and shame
though path was crumbling dust and shale
we unimpressed pressed on, though wearied, wounded, lamed


Another year awaits your tired, lovely soul,
I swear again you will not walk these months alone

My hand in yours, your beauty still my sword against the night
until we two shall set the world alight, aright, aflight